Japan has always been in the forefront of technical innovation and recently, it introduced the latest robot, Erica Android that is able to mimic human speech and body language patterns.
According to reports Erica is the most realistic robot yet. It was built by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, a robotics expert, who built Gemonoid, an android that looks like him and was featured in a BBC Two documentary. Professor Ishiguro is the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory director. This is part of Osaka University’s Department of Systems Innovation, Graduate School of Engineering Science.
His latest creation, Erica, moves and speaks and is capable of mimicking human movements realistically. Erica was created as a fashionable 23-year old lady, with a combination of Japanese and European features. It leans its head, raises its eyebrow, blinks and even smirks while speaking. The android robot stands 5 feet four inches (166 cm) high.
Those who have seen the android robot said that it has better communication skills than the previous robots created by Professor Ishiguro. It was even programmed to provide colloquial responses such as “ahhh” and “umm.” The voice is clear and pleasant and does not sound tinny like the other android talking robots released in the past. By human standards, it is still a bit stiff although a remarkable improvement could already be seen. When asked, it replied that anime, theater and sports are its hobbies.
Erica was built through the collaboration of Kyoto University, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, Osaka University and the Japan Science and Technology Agency. Erica was introduced earlier this month at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation located in Tokyo.
The goal behind the creation of Erica was to imitate human body language and speech patterns in an effort to achieve natural conversations with a human being. Overall, it seems that the collaborating teams were successful in achieving their primary goal. Erica looks and acts like a human being. The android robot was programmed to understand and react/reply to spoken Japanese with audio and body movements. Erica is not yet perfect and the work is not yet complete. It is still an ongoing project of the collaborating teams.
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